The Phoenix Flyer

Florida Senate approves hemp bill — without limiting THC levels in products

By: - April 28, 2023 1:05 pm

Marijuana leaves. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A measure that will prohibit hemp-derived products such as Delta-8 from being sold to individuals under 21 years of age passed in the Florida Senate Friday.

The original versions of the bill in the Senate (SB 1676) and House (HB 1475) set limits on how much THC could be included per serving and per package of hemp products. THC is the compound in the cannabis plant that can get you high. The final Senate language includes no such limits.

Those dosage limits caused great concerns from hemp entrepreneurs and those who use hemp products as medicine, leading them to come to the Capitol in large numbers to urge legislators in committee meetings that such limits would severely limit the products’ appeal and extremely damage the industry.

Matt Schwarmann, vice president of Outpost Brands, a Daytona Beach hemp manufacturer with 142 employees, told the Phoenix that the packaging limits would eliminate “virtually every hemp product” on the market.

“Every vape and cartridge would all be eliminated, and when you have gummies of such small efficacy doses, less than 5 milligrams — that’s not enough for the majority of people who are using it strictly as therapeutic uses,” he said.

Delta-8 is a cannabinoid that is said to produce a milder effect than other THC products.

Both the House and Senate’s original bills set THC limits not to exceed 0.5 milligrams per serving size and 2 milligrams per package. After the initial uproar, Manatee County Republican Will Robinson Jr. raise those levels to 5 milligrams per serving or 50 milligrams per package. Two weeks ago, he unveiled language that dropped any THC limits on hemp-derived products during a committee meeting.

More than 20 states have regulated hemp products over the past few years as the rise in popularity in Delta-8 has grown. Some have outright banned the product.

The Florida House was scheduled to debate the bill later on Friday.

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Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has covered politics and government in Florida for more than two decades. Most recently he is the former politics reporter for Bay News 9. He has also worked at Florida Politics, Creative Loafing and WMNF Radio in Tampa. He was also part of the original staff when the Florida Phoenix was created in 2018.